A Personal Directive, commonly known as a Living Will, is a document which allows a person (the “Maker”) to designate another person (the “Agent”) to make decisions regarding non-financial personal matters, such as medical treatment, residence and social activities if the Maker becomes mentally incapable of making these decisions on their own.
The Personal Directive becomes effective if and when the Maker becomes mentally incapacitated or infirm and ceases to be effective if the Maker regains mental capacity.
If a person has not executed a Personal Directive, then upon becoming mentally incapacitated or infirm, someone would have to apply for a Court order to be appointed as guardian. Therefore, the Personal Directive allows the Maker to choose someone they trust to make major personal decisions for them. It also gives the Maker the opportunity to discuss their wishes with the Agent.
While the Agent has fairly broad decision-making power, the Personal Directive allows the Maker to provide specific instructions which the Agent must follow in making those decisions. The Maker can specify what types of medical treatment they wish to receive in a given situation, where they would like to live, and other similar instructions. If a person has not executed a Personal Directive, the Court-appointed guardian would not be restricted by any specific wishes and would be entitled to make these decisions as they see fit.
At KH/Dunkley Law Group we prepare Personal Directives to ensure that a valid document is in place when our clients need it most. We take the time to discuss the effects of the Personal Directive with our clients so that they fully understand what they are signing, and the benefits and risks of doing so.
For more information, please feel free to contact our office.